Have you made half square triangles?
If you quilt, then you’ve likely stumbled across this block a time or two in your quilt journey.
Half square triangles, or HST as they’re known in the quilt community, is where my quilt journey started.
You can read all about the Study in Half Square Triangles quilt here. That may have been my introduction to HSTs, but over the years I’ve made quiiiiiite a few quilts featuring HST. Maybe it’s because of how I started quilting or maybe it’s just because they’re so darn cute – ha! Either way, this basic block sneaks its way into a lot of my designs, which means I’ve trimmed aloooooot of HSTs – lol!
While I love the look of the HST, I don’t love the trimming up bit.
It can feel daunting staring at a stack of several hundred HST to trim up.
Finding an efficient way to plow through that stack, without incurring any bodily harm, was key!
Today’s the day I’m sharing with you the top 3 notions I can’t get through a half square trimming session without!
*This post contains affiliate links, meaning, at no additional cost to you, if you click through and make a purchase, I may receive a commission.
If there’s one tool, I wish I hadn’t hummed and hawed about for so long before diving in and scooping her up, it would be *this roundabout cutting mat.
You can read my full review here but suffice it to say I’ve tried other models and this one is my fave by far. I’ve shown her off in lots of workshops so you can see just how amazing she spins. That’s the key with a good rotating mat and this one does it brilliantly thanks to the ball bearings 😉
I know she’s pricey, but in my opinion, well worth the investment.
ROTARY CUTTER & BLADES
My top tip here is to find a *rotary cutter that fits comfortably in your hand.
It’s deceptive how much pressure and strain your hand goes through after slicing away repetitively for an extended period of time. So, aside from taking regular breaks, make sure your tool fits nicely in your hand.
The next important tip is to replace your rotary cutter blades regularly. I tend to change mine up after each quilt project (unless, of course, it’s smaller projects, in which case I’ll get a few out of one blade). I know it can be tempting to make your blade last for a little longer, but as soon as you see your blade skipping any fibers, that’s a sure sign that your blade needs to be changed.
Working with a dull blade also means you have to press more, which is both tiring and dangerous.
There are lots of half-square triangle rulers out there and really you don’t even need one if you prefer keeping your notions to a minimum. I used a regular ruler for years (see a tutorial for that here) before picking up this *4-in-one HST ruler, which I love. You can see it in action in this Shattered Star QAL video. This ruler combined with the rotating mat is just a genius combo!
I know pressing doesn’t exactly come into the equation when trimming, but for me, it’s an important pre-trimming step 😊
To get the most accurately trimmed half-square triangles, I like to first make sure I press my HST nice and flat.
HALF-SQUARE TRIANGLE BLOCKS
You’ll obviously need some half-square triangles to try out these nifty trimming notions on 😉 Here are some fun patterns showing the fun you can have with half-square triangles:
- Shattered Star Quilt
- Modern Aztec Quilt
- Double Windmill Quilt
- Pink Lemonade Quilt
- Etched Diamond Quilt
And that’s it!
Those are the only sewing notions I need to help me get through any half-square triangle trimming session efficiently, safely, and, dare I say, joyfully! But please remember to take breaks and stretch (here are my go-to stretches) throughout the trimming session. Your body with thank you and you’ll help keep the boredom at bay. Oh, and another tip, pop on some music or your favourite podcast to make the trimming session even more enjoyable.
I’d love to know – what’s your top half square trimming notion you can’t live without? Share in the comments below.
Never miss a post – sign up for the weekly newsletter.
This post uses affiliate links. For more info, visit the FAQ page.